BY NICK WILSON
September has begun and with that comes the first break from league action of the campaign as the FA Cup journey gets underway. The draw has given Basingstoke a 3rd trip to Somerset in two weeks with a date at Paulton Rovers in the First Qualifying Round. Paulton made this stage of the competition thanks to a 1-0 Preliminary Round victory at 9th tier side Bradford Town. The FA Cup has been a welcome distraction from the league for the Rovers where they’ve had a mixed start. Currently playing one level below Basingstoke in the Southern League Division One South, Saturday’s hosts lie 13th in the table, having won one of their first four league matches, totalling four points.
Basingstoke will be looking for their first FA Cup win in over two years after being knocked out in a replay at this stage last year in a replay at Hartley Wintney through a goal from one Sam Argent. The game is looked at as a priority this season with the prize money available in each round, Jason Bristow commented after last weekend’s draw at Taunton that the club needed a cup run. Dan Bayliss and Sam Argent were left out of the team at the Viridor Stadium as precautions and should both be available to return to the side tomorrow, meaning the club are hopeful of being able to pick from a full strength team.
Basingstoke will be confident of a win after a strong start to the season and given their higher league status while Paulton will be looking to make home advantage count and progress to the Second Qualifying Round.
BY NICK WILSON
A tough match for Basingstoke at Winterfield Road saw the two sides finish on level terms, ensuring Paulton will be back at the Camrose on Tuesday evening for a replay.
The hosts started the First Qualifying Round match well and set about harrying Basingstoke at every opportunity and trying to keep their visitors under pressure. Ryan Gay had the first chance, scrambling just wide from an awkward position in front of the near post before Liam Monelle’s header at the far post was well saved by Colm McAdden.
Basingstoke were struggling to move the ball through midfield and survived a scare when Ryan Gay’s goal was disallowed for a handball in the build up but the away side took the lead against the run of play after 20 minutes. The ball was worked out to George Bennett on the left, just outside the box. He took aim and struck a powerful effort in off the far post, leaving Paulton keeper Rob Brown with no chance.
Paulton continued to cause problems, particularly from set pieces where Dale Evans’ deliveries were of a high quality. One delivery led to a header being glanced just over the bar but the hosts were soon level. Left back Camen Harvey cut in onto his favoured right foot and bettered Bennett’s effort by blasting the ball from 30 yards into the top corner of McAdden’s goal 10 minutes before the break
HALF TIME: 1-1
Basingstoke improved a little after the break but the chances were still falling the home side’s way. Ben Withey ended a neat move by lifting his shot just over the bar and McAdden saved a low shot from Evans. Basingstoke responded as Sam Smart found a yard of space on the right side of the box but his well hit volley was fired at Brown.
Callum Bunting was introduced from the bench as Jason Bristow tried to tip the game in his team’s favour but they were finding it difficult to create clear chances. Sam Argent had a penalty appeal turned down and Dan Collier couldn’t keep a long range effort under the crossbar and at the other end, McAdden produced an excellent double save to keep Basingstoke in the cup. First palming away a low shot from Gay, he recovered to get across his goal to block Withey’s follow up effort.
The was one last chance for Paulton substitute Jordan Lovibond but he lifted a volley over the bar when well placed to ensure the teams will do it all again on Tuesday.
FULL TIME: 1-1
Paulton team: Rob Brown; Treyvond Anderson, Kevin Davies, Jamie Laird, Camen Harvey; Mitch Tippins, Dale Evans, Liam Monelle; Joe Hillard (Josh Morgan-Williams), Ryan Gay (Jordan Lovibond), Ben Withey.
Subs not used: Sam Hedges, Jay Malpas, Ben Prictor, John Rendell.
Basingstoke team: Colm McAdden; Dean Stow, Harry Philby, Dan Bayliss, Jim Orvis; George Bennett, Charlie Kennedy; Sam Smart (Callum Bunting), Sam Deadfield, Zidan Akers (Dan Collier); Sam Argent.
Subs not used: Shane Hollamby, Jack McKnight, Ben Wright, Harry Long, Liam Hunt.